The Louisiana State House on Tuesday failed to override Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto of a bill that would have banned teachers from using a new pronoun for students unless they get permission from parents.
The House voted 67-29 on HB 81, three votes short of the two-thirds threshold required to override the governor’s veto.
Every Democrat voted against the bill along with two Republicans, Representatives Barbara Freiberg and Stephanie Hilferty.
One Republican member reportedly flew back from vacation in France to make the session, while another Republican was also vacationing in Europe, but did not fly back, and yet another Republican was out of town for a family medical situation, according to local reporter James Finn.
The pronoun bill would have required school employees to use the name on a student’s birth certificate or a derivative of that name unless the student’s parent provides written permission to do otherwise.
Under the bill, schools also would have been banned from requiring school employees to use pronouns other than the ones that match the sex on someone’s birth certificate if doing so would violate the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Edwards vetoed the bill at the end of June along with two other bills that dealt with gender identity.
One of the other bills, the Stop Harming Our Kids Act, bans puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender surgeries for minors in Louisiana. Both chambers of the Louisiana legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s veto of that bill, meaning the legislation will go into effect.
The other bill the governor vetoed last month would have blocked teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in the state’s public school classrooms. That bill also failed the override vote on Tuesday by just two votes.
“This bill unfairly places vulnerable children at the front lines of a vicious culture war,” Edwards wrote in his veto message on the classroom content bill, adding that it could result in “sanctioned bullying of LGBTQ children in schools under the guise of religious freedom.”
In the past few years, parents and teachers have clashed with schools about policies around trans-identifying students.
In 2017, an Indiana teacher was fired after he objected to using trans-identifying students’ new names and pronouns. Last year, a Virginia teacher was fired for refusing to use a trans-identifying student’s new pronouns.
In Louisiana itself, teacher Jonathan Koeppel said in 2021 that he was fired after he objected to the schools in his New Orleans-area district teaching gender ideology, as well as Critical Race Theory.
“I started noticing kids talking about political topics that were being brought up in other classes by their teachers, and realized that someone had to get this conversation started,” Koeppel said at the time. “I just happened to be that someone.”